In the South Pacific country of Vanuatu, communities in Latano, South Tongoa and Central Pentecost now have access to water without having to walk more than a kilometer to reach the nearest source.

That’s because water-filtration systems, taps and pipes have been installed by Israeli humanitarian aid NGO IsraAID in partnership with the government of Vanuatu.

And to assure the water doesn’t stop flowing, hundreds of community members have been trained in hygiene and sanitation projects and operation and maintenance of the water systems.

“The whole population of the Latano community is really happy deep down in our hearts. We are overjoyed because of the water system here,” said John Mark Vuti, chairman of Latano.

“In Latano, it has been four decades since their previous water system broke,” Vuti said.

The project has prioritized women’s engagement and participation, ensuring that all members of the community can contribute and develop their own skills, according to IsraAID.

Still in progress, the project has so far reached 11 villages with a total population of 1,300 people. IsraAID built 72 tap stands, trained 420 community members in hygiene practices and infrastructure maintenance, and installed seven rainwater harvesting and gravity-fed water systems.

“As COVID-19 continues to affect communities across the globe, access to safe water, hygiene supplies and sanitation infrastructure is more important now than ever,” said IsraAID CEO Yotam Polizer.

“IsraAID’s WASH [water, sanitation and hygiene] experts are continuing to create and implement WASH interventions in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

IsraAID’s local teams also have been actively aiding people in Pentecost and Ambrym, the two Vanuatu islands most affected by Tropical Cyclone Harold in early April. The storm destroyed many homes, schools and health centers, while response efforts and international aid have severely hampered by the ongoing pandemic.

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